Revisionist History on Testing in Admissions
Talk about revisionist history! For decades, many folks claimed that the SAT and ACT unfairly advantaged the privileged. Their argument? High school students from families of means could receive tutoring for these exams. These folks, of course, were right. In spite of what College Board, the maker of the SAT, and ACT, Inc., the maker of the ACT, insisted for years, the SAT and ACT are coachable exams. With great tutoring, students’ scores can often skyrocket. We, of course, have seen it firsthand. So allow us to scratch our heads when folks are now suggesting that the elimination of the SAT or ACT requirement in highly selective college admissions makes the process less equitable.
Some Argue Absence of SAT and ACT in Admissions Fosters Inequity
As Janet Lorin reports for Bloomberg Wealth in a piece entitled “SATs, Once Hailed as Ivy League Equalizers, Fall From Favor,” “While many students are delighted [that the SAT and ACT are currently not required for admission], some counselors worry that the scarcity of scores could add to growing inequality in American higher education. The reason: Wealthier students can game more subjective measures. They can hire consultants to sharpen their essays, and their school counselors tend to have the time and expertise to write recommendations that will catch an admissions officer’s eye.”
Yet So Many For So Long Argued the SAT and ACT Foster Inequity
People, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too! And, hello, irrespective of whether the SAT or ACT is required in admissions or not, students from families of means are still going to work with private college consultants. Students from families of means are still going to go to high schools with lower student to counselor ratios. Students from families of means are still often going to have teachers who put more care in their letters of recommendation. So why are these folks conflating all of these facts with the elimination of the SAT / ACT testing requirement in admissions? How could the SAT and ACT be unfair barometers that advantaged the privileged just last year and now the absence of these exams in admissions decision-making is also unfair? We’ve got a headache. These folks, unsurprisingly, are talking out of both sides of their mouths while they eat cake. And we all know it’s very important to chew with one’s mouth closed shut.
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